Do you know how the Rotary Club got its name? The first Rotarians would meet in different locations and “rotate” their meetings, thus, Rotary was born. One attorney in Chicago wanted to meet with like-minded professionals to share the friendly spirit of small towns that he knew from his youth. That man was Paul P. Harris, and on February 23rd, 1905, he invited friends Gustavus Loehr, Silvester Schiele, and Hiram Shorey for a meeting – the first Rotary Club meeting.
Just five years later, Rotary Clubs were established across the country – from San Francisco to New York. The first Rotary Club convention was held in Chicago in 1910, which included 16 clubs that became the National Association of Rotary Clubs. With the addition of other countries in 1922, the name changed to Rotary International, and by 1925, Rotary International consisted of more than 2,000 clubs with about 108,000 members.
Rotary continued to grow and attracted presidents, prime ministers, and a host of other luminaries like author Thomas Mann, diplomat Carlos P. Romulo, and composer Jean Sibelius. Using their talents to better their communities, Rotary became known for its motto: Service Above Self. In 1932, Rotarian Herbert J. Taylor created The Four-Way Test, which has since been translated into more than 100 languages. The test asks four key questions in regards to what we think, say, and do:
Is it the TRUTH?
Is it FAIR to all concerned?
Will it build GOODWILL and BETTER FRIENDSHIPS?
Will it be BENEFICIAL to all concerned?